Debate Magazine

The Old Car-Gun Analogy.

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Mikeb302000
Every so often, the pro-gun side likes to pull out the fact that people die from things other than guns. That's sort of obvious since life is the major cause of death in the ultimate sense. And these are parallels that are pulled out only when it seems useful to try to discredit the gun safety movement.
But these are faulty analogies in that they assume that because two things are alike in one or more respects, they are necessarily alike in some other respect.
So, guns kill 31,224 people and Traffic fatalities from all causes amount to 44,128 people during 2007 according to WISQARS. Doesn't that mean that motor vehicles are more lethal than guns?
There are a multitude of problems with this comment. The first being that motor vehicles were not created to kill. They are a mode of transportation for people and goods. That means their usefulness derives from something other than lethality (which is where this sort of argument always fails). Sometimes people do die in car accidents. But, the number of people dying in car accidents has decreased because of various laws making cars safer and making people safer drivers.
And one has to ask how many miles are driven each year without accident?
Outside of personal protection and hunting, both involving killing or wounding, guns have no other legal uses other than target practice, skeet shooting and so forth. I suppose you could use a gun as a hammer, but that would not be what the gun was designed for. I think using a hammer to kill would be more effective (as one gun defender suggested) than using a gun as a hammer. However, there is that trouble with the reloading the hammer to shoot at a crowd. Moreover, why don’t the people comparing automobiles to guns ever suggest liability insurance be mandated for gun owners, that we have to take a gun proficiency test, and register our guns like we do our cars?
It’s because people only use the analogies when it suits their defense of guns. If they actually thought it through, they would see the analogy is a poor one.
Why can’t gun advocates admit that guns were created to kill? Isn’t that the point of a gun, to kill or wound an intruder or take down your dinner, deer, rabbit, quail or other game animal? That is the primary function of a gun. Unless, you are suggesting eating road kill on a regular basis.
It's is true that cars do kill people but how many people use their cars to intentionally commit murder?
Cars are usually involved in accidents.
Guns are usually involved in accidents and intentional harm or death.
The Old Car-Gun Analogy.
But the place where the car gun analogy really fails is that cars are highly regulated: registration,safety features, and so on. There's even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which is supposed to “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes” through writing and enforcing safety, theft-resistance, and fuel economy standards for motor vehicles. Not to mention it exercises more control over vehicle manufactures and importers than does BATF.
The gun lobby doesn't work on making guns safer. There's no license, no registration, no requirement for training to purchase firearms. The firearms industry is exempt from product liability suits, vehicle manufacturers are not.
And there's an interesting parallel to be made if you are going to make this analogy. If we put children in car seats when they're in cars, then why can't we have some type of law that prevents children from gaining access to weapons, or more preferably, makes gun owners more responsible. If you have a gun, you own it, and some child accesses it, you're responsible.
Quite simply: Guns are made to kill people. Cars are not. Guns are designed to be weapons, vehicles are designed for transportation. That is why this analogy, and ones like it, fail.
Even more importantly,if you are going to make this argument, then you open yourself up to the fact that guns need to be highly regulated, not left unregulated as they are now. Especially when other, less lethal items (e.g.,Tedd Bears), are highly regulated. Does that make sense?

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